Jay-Z Makes History As Hip-Hop's First Billionaire, Forbes Says

The rapper's assets in fashion, music and art have pushed him past the billion-dollar mark.

Jay-Z has always lived in a billionaire state of mind, but now it’s official.

The rapper and businessman has made history as hip-hop’s first billionaire, according to a new Forbes cover story published on Monday. The magazine conservatively estimates his fortune totals more than $1 billion (around £790 million).

While Forbes has been historically opaque about its wealth calculations of the rich and famous (see: the self-made Kylie Jenner), the report details various assets and investments that have reaped some serious profits for Jay-Z.

Apart from his two-plus-decade music career that boasts a $75 million (£59 million) catalogue, a host of high-grossing tours, his own record label and streaming service, the rapper has made major money moves in the art, fashion, liquor and tech sectors.

Hip-hop artist Jay-Z at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar party.
Hip-hop artist Jay-Z at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar party.
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images

The report claims the Brooklyn-born entertainer holds a $310 million (£245 million) stake in the luxury champagne brand Armand de Brignac, which he acquired in 2014, as well as another $100 million (£79 million) in his cognac label D’Ussé that reportedly continues to grow 80% each year.

His cash portfolio also tallies at $220 million (£173 million), according to Forbes, in part thanks to a stake in Uber worth an estimated $70 million (£55 million). The rapper previously sold his clothing line Rocawear, which he launched in 1999, to Iconix for $204 million (£161 million) in 2007.

And finally, the rapper’s real estate properties around the world and extensive art collection, which counts several works by the artist Basquiat, have an estimated value of $120 million (£95 million).

Jay-Z has often self-identified as a billionaire in a number of songs since releasing his now classic debut album Reasonable Doubt in 1996.

“Ain’t no such thing as an ugly billionaire, I’m cute,” he rapped on the track Family Feud, from his most recent solo effort 4:44.

While Forbes rates the Everything Is Love artist as the first rapper to reach the billionaire benchmark, some of his contemporaries don’t trail too far behind.

Dr. Dre previously declared he was hip-hop’s first billionaire. The Beats by Dre founder did sell his brand to Apple in back in 2014 for $3.2 billion, but Forbes claims his net worth actually hovers closer to $700 million after taxes.